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From Home Furnishing Business

Bradington-Young, Upholstery Veteran Retires After 39 Years

Second generation motion upholstery resource Bradington-Young has announced the retirement of Ronnie Hamrick, who helped build the company’s first high-leg recliner nearly 40 years ago.

Hamrick, who worked for Bradington-Young for 39 of the 40 years the company has been in existence, had been assigned to the product development department in recent years, but clearly remembers building the back for that first high-leg recliner, shortly after he was hired. The chair, known internally as the 4114, remains the company’s best-selling leather recliner today.

“Back then we had about 50 employees who were crammed into the second floor of a building that had a textile company on the first floor. But once we built that high-leg recliner and the sales really took off, we asked the textile company to leave,” said Hamrick. “We moved the frame shop downstairs, and kept expanding from there.”

After starting out as an upholsterer, Hamrick moved up to upholstery supervisor, and later served as cutting supervisor, frame shop supervisor and manager of the Cherryville, N.C., factory, before moving to the product development post.

“Ronnie’s dedication to his craft and his attention to detail are legendary, and we certainly will miss him,” said Craig Young, president. “Hard-working, long-term employees like Ronnie are one of the keys to our success, and we can’t thank him enough for the contributions he has made to our company for the past 39 years.”

Employing 200 workers today, 30 percent have been there for 20 years or more. The company no longer relies on workers to cut frames by hand as it did in Hamrick’s early days, but utilizes CNC routers to cut frames to precise specifications.

Hamrick said the addition of CNC routers in 2006 and the arrival of a Lectra automated leather cutting machine in 2016 are the most significant technology advances he has witnessed during his long tenure. Routers have drastically reduced frame production time, and the Lectra machine has significantly reduced leather waste while delivering more accurate cuts.

Bradington-Young honored Hamrick with a surprise luncheon and retirement party during his last week on the job. He plans to remain in the Hickory area and spend more time with his family.

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